Happy Psoriasis Awareness Month!
Hi Afsah, Please tell us little bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Afsah ☺️ I’m a 23-year-old female living in Sydney, Australia. I’ve had psoriasis for about 7 years now, it was mild to start with but has now become quite severe with plaques all over my body. ?
When were you Diagnosed with Psoriasis?
I was diagnosed in 2012, a few months after I first moved from Dubai to Sydney.
What do you think caused it?
I think Australia’s weather/climate has a lot to do with it. I lived in Dubai my whole life before moving to Australia and never had a single patch of psoriasis! A few months after moving to Sydney, I started noticing red spots appearing on my legs and arms. Initially I thought it was an allergic reaction to my kitten but when I visited my dermatologist, he diagnosed it as psoriasis. I’d never even heard of it before. At the time I had no idea how much worse it could get or that this was something I’d have to live with for the rest of my life.
What Foods do you Avoid? What foods do you eat to heal?
To be honest, I tried avoiding certain foods for a while including dairy, meat, wheat etc. I found that it didn’t really help with my skin at all so now I eat a normal diet!
Do you avoid gluten and what do you think about Gluten sensitivity in Psoriasis?
I tried avoiding Gluten for a few months and found that my skin actually became a lot worse than what it was previously! I think gluten does play a role in some individuals but unfortunately, I don’t think avoiding it does anything for me.
Let’s talk Breakfast, if you were gluten free, what would it be like?
If I had to pick a gluten-free breakfast meal, I’d go for some overnight oats mixed with almond or soy milk and fresh fruits like bananas or blueberries. I think it’s a great way to have a delicious filling breakfast while avoiding gluten.
Name your top 3 Triggers
Alcohol is definitely #1 – I find my skin literally ‘explodes’ with flare ups after a few drinks the night before.
Winter/cold weather is a closed second – As soon as the temperature starts to drop, I find patches appearing all over my tummy, legs, arms, back and hips. Once it starts to warm up, these slowly disappear.
I use a mixed method of medication and environmental factors. I try to lie in the sun (baring as much skin as possible) frequently as I’ve found this really helps soothe and heal my psoriasis. Going to the beach or taking baths with salt crystals is also very beneficial for the skin. In terms of medication, I find the Enstilar foam spray is great for short term use. It’s easy to use and my patches normally disappear after a few days to a week of use. I wouldn’t recommend it as a long term solution though. I am about to start receiving a biologic called Skyrizi to see if that does anything. I’m fortunate enough that in Australia, the government covers the cost of this medication so I don’t have to pay too much for it.
What would you tell those who are newly diagnosed and looking for answers?
I would definitely prepare a list of questions for the dermatologist to start off with. I found that I didn’t really understand what psoriasis was when I was first diagnosed and I thought it was something that would go away in a couple of weeks and I’d never have to think about it again.
I would suggest changing your diet/lifestyle to see if this helps you as this is the healthiest and most sustainable option. @mygoodnessrecipes is a great option to look into this.
Next, try and identify triggers and see if you can avoid them. For me, those are alcohol and cold weather! Probably why I never had any problems when living in Dubai (literally the desert ?).
In terms of medications your options are topical ointments (Daivobex, Enstilar, Daivobet), UVB photo-therapy, immunosuppressive tablets and biologics. Ask your dermatologist about all of them to understand the pros and cons?
LASTLY, join the psoriasis community on instagram! Since I’ve joined, I’ve found that it really helps with my mental health to see other people struggling with the same thing – people who understand what I’m going through. It’s also a great way to find tips and tricks to deal with flare ups.
Find out more about Afsah’s journey on her account on Instagram @psovibes